Regulator says most firms are improving best practice in claims handling

The FSA has ruled out further thematic work on claims handling after a review found that most insurers were dealing with claims well.

Despite the positive findings, the regulator identified a number of factors companies should consider when dealing with claims in order to "embed good practice".

These include making sure customers are kept informed of the progress of the claim, that complaints are dealt with "positively", and that outsourced providers are supervised appropriately.

Alison Hewitt, head of department in the FSA's retail firms division, said: "We are encouraged by the review findings and it seems firms have been able to implement without undue difficulty the claims handling requirements in our new rules.

"We have seen a lot of positive signs that firms are starting to implement Treating Customers Fairly initiatives into their processes and procedures and we would encourage the industry to continue to make efforts to improve best practice particularly in the areas we have identified."

The survey was sent to 34 insurers with retail customers, and was followed up by visits to seven firms.

The regulator said it would feed back its findings to the firms which took part in the review and continue to monitor claims handling performance in the industry through routine supervision.

This week, the FSA published a factsheet on its website to help firms develop good practice.

TCF tool launched
The FSA has launched an online self-assessment tool to help firms determine whether they are doing all they can to Treat Customers Fairly (TCF).

The regulator said the tool was not a checklist, but was designed to indicate to smaller firms some of the areas on which they should focus in order to help ensure fair treatment of their customers.

The FSA said it would be monitoring smaller firms' progress in embracing TCF.